No electrical power at all

Discussion in 'Tech Discussion' started by BigBlue87, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. BigBlue87

    BigBlue87 Junior Member

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    I've been scratching all my hair out on this one. Seems like I have a really bad ground somewhere. When I open my door, my interior light is barely on, and when I turn the key 2 clicks, it completely goes out, and there is no other noises made. Truck dosent turn over, no turn signals, buzzers etc.

    This happened once before and randomly went way after hitting the steering column. I'm really not sure if that did the trick. What are your thoughts on this before I tear into everything imaginable.....

    87 Chevy 350 tbi
     
  2. chengny

    chengny Full Access Member

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    If the entire system is affected (and it sounds like it is) that would suggest a problem with one of the battery cables.

    You can check whether it's the battery negative cable easily and without spending any money - if you have a set of jumper cables. Do it by creating a temporary redundant ground path to the battery from the engine.

    Using just one cable of the jumper set (pos or neg), clamp one end to a good clean/unpainted spot on the engine. When you have that end clamped, connect the other end to the negative post of the battery. That's it. You now have - what amounts to - a new, extra negative battery cable installed alongside the normal cable.

    If you notice a marked improvement in system voltage (e.g. the lights are brighter, the horn beeps and the radio plays, etc.) buy a real negative cable and install it.

    If there is no improvement, you could try the same trick buy running one of the jumper cables from the battery positive down to the "B" terminal on the starter solenoid. Or you could just gamble and buy a new one (maybe $20) and hope for the best.

    The only other thing that comes to mind is a shorted alternator that is pulling down your system voltage. Try disconnecting the 3 leads to the alternator - do it after the negative cable test but before the positive cable test. Not for any engineering reasons, but just because it's hard to do any work on the positive cable...and always do the easy stuff first.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  3. Oldrider

    Oldrider Full Access Member

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    Do the headlights come on if you pull the switch out?
    Do the brake lights work?
     
  4. 87ChevyR10

    87ChevyR10 Full Access Member

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    Check the battery cable mounts. I had an issue where the negative side would screw in all the way, but wasn't making a good connection. I bought a longer bolt (good idea anyways for jump starting) from wal-mart and even that din't fix it. I have to use a washer or two between bolt head and terminal to get a good connection. Just something to check.
     
  5. stlbob

    stlbob Full Access Member

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    had sameish issue.was ignition switch in column.
     
  6. BigBlue87

    BigBlue87 Junior Member

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    So, I tried your suggestions and unfortunately it didnt work. Traced the power back to the ignition switch and I'm thinking that's the culprit. I pulled the old switch out, and in the process the ignition rod was moved. Is there a trick for getting the ignition barrel back to the lock position? Right now it won't make that final click back. After looking at all of the diagrams, it seems like there shouldnt be anything holding it up.
     
  7. BigBlue87

    BigBlue87 Junior Member

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    All fixed. Just took some wiggling and cus words. The old ignition switch had 3 bad contacts in it when I opened it up. On to the next project now...

    Thanks!
     
  8. 1987 GMC Jimmy

    1987 GMC Jimmy Full Access Member

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    You gotta have the curse words.
     
  9. Oldrider

    Oldrider Full Access Member

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    Great news.
     

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